Syria’s foreign minister has said that Damascus will not accept any transition peace plan for the country that excludes President Bashar al-Assad.
Walid al-Muallem made the remark in an interview with the Associated Press on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday.
“For the Syrian people, Bashar Assad is the elected president until mid-2014, when presidential elections will be held,” the Syrian foreign minister stated.
He added that the Syrian government would welcome other candidates to run in the elections under the Syrian constitution. Muallem said only the Syrian nation can choose their leader.
The Syrian army has been fighting al-Qaeda-linked terrorists since the unrest erupted in Syria in March 2011, Muallem stated, adding, “Those terrorist elements are supported by neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan and some Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”
The remarks came after the UN Security Council approved a resolution on September 27 that obliges Damascus to comply with an international plan to see its chemical weapons eliminated.
Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari called on Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and the United States to abide by the UN resolution and stop supporting militant groups operating inside Syria.
Ja’afari added that the countries supporting the militants should be held accountable if they continued arming them.
“You can’t bring terrorists from all over the world and send them into Syria in the name of jihad and then pretend that you are working for peace.”
The Syrian envoy added that Damascus was “fully committed” to taking part in a proposed peace conference in Geneva in November aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.